This edition of All Booked was originally emailed to subscribers on June 4, 2024. To receive our literary newsletter in your inbox, sign up at

Hello, fellow bookworms!

This week, our fabulous Marketing and Promotions Administrator, Richelle Boyd, takes over the newsletter to tell us about what she’s been reading lately. I definitely plan to add these to my list!

Happy reading,


Though I do Marketing and Promotions for the Independent, I have a love for all things related to reading and writing. I’m a huge advocate for reading the news (our paper included), but I usually enjoy a thriller or a good romance book to sweep me away. Lately, I’ve been in search of books to foster a better understanding of today’s world and politics, and I am always looking for books that show me something new.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)

This book has been on my reading list for a long time and only recently made its way to my shelf. A quote from Toni Morrison on the cover declares it a “required reading.” Ta-Nehisi Coates uses this book to show the “other-ness” that he has experienced his entire life, an otherness I witness people experiencing, now more than ever.

Coates divulges his personal story and experience — the ways times have changed for Black people over the course of his life, and, in many aspects, the way certain things haven’t. His book came out in 2015, and yet it is more prevalent than ever to see the world through his lens. In this, you learn history and discover the discourse of thought on race, power, and our politically charged world through his life experiences.

And Coates has lived through horrors, watched the downfall from inside, and understands that our mainstream culture often pushes away the atrocities of anyone who is white. It confronts you to think about what you have been taught and told, and Coates allows you to witness his life and the horrors he’s seen firsthand.

Even more than that, he sees the machine of our democracy and confronts it head-on. One of the great quotes from this book that stuck with me was this: “The mettle that it takes to look away from the horror of our prison system, from police forces transformed into armies, from the long war against the black body, is not forged overnight …. To acknowledge these horrors means turning away from the brightly rendered version of your country as it has always declared itself and turning towards something murkier and unknown.”

And that’s what this book is all about — confronting that darkness we see lurking around us. The cherry on top is that the book is written like a letter to his son, essentially to the entire next generation after him. Not only is it a compelling, fast-paced read, but Coates shows the vulnerability (the “plunder” as he calls it) that Black people have always been exposed to.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2003)

Graphic novels have always been a favorite read of mine, and this one is no exception. Though I read this only a few years ago for a class, I recently picked up this novel again in the wake of the recent tragedies happening in Gaza. And while I find reading to be a great escape, I think that in our current times, it’s important to not try and escape but to try and understand.

Through a simplistic art style, Marjane Satrapi tells her true coming-of-age story and allows readers to follow her life growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. It’s a look into life we hardly ever get to see in our media and an account of a long history that hasn’t been seen. Politics, war, and everyday life are shown and experienced on each page with an easy-to-follow style that doesn’t overwhelm you with information.

Much like with Coates, reading Satrapi’s life experiences and the harsh realities she had to face growing up puts the world around me into great perspective. And I think this is a particularly powerful piece because it uses the art to aid the storytelling. Though it’s all in black and white, the details in each frame are intentional and well-executed.

The experience of war and displacement through the eyes of a child and teenager are stories we don’t get to hear enough in the face of tragedies, and Satrapi provides an account of what life was like in the late 1980s and beyond in Iran. She approaches persecution and the changes in government and religious beliefs in this story, and though these are heavy topics, Satrapi’s true experience makes it that much easier to digest.

She explores her own changing ideas and attitudes, and there are influences she takes in as she grows and learns about herself and about her feelings of her homeland. She grapples with family, education, and the politics that shape and hold her world in different ways, and gives a fresh perspective on a harsh reality that many continue to face today.


Upcoming Book Events

Below, you will find a few bookish events coming up in Santa Barbara. If you are hosting a bookish event in Santa Barbara, be sure to submit the event to our online events calendar.

Storytime at Solvang Library
Tuesday, June 4, 10:30 a.m. | Solvang Library

El Encanto Literary Club with T.C. Boyle
Tuesday, June 4, noon | El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel

Bilingual Songs & Stories for Kids
Wednesday, June 5, 11 a.m. | Franklin Elementary School

Read to a Dog
Wednesday, June 5, 3:30 p.m. | Carpinteria Community Library

Book Talk and Signing: Margaux Dunbar Hession
Wednesday, June 5, 6 p.m. | Chaucer’s Books

Book Signing: Lynnell Burkett
Thursday, June 6, 5 p.m. | Santa Barbara Fine Art Gallery

Book Signing: Sky Bergman
Thursday, June 6, 5 p.m. | Potek Winery

Book Talk and Signing: Ed Humes
Thursday, June 6, 6:30 p.m. | CEC Environmental Hub

Baby & Me Storytime
Friday, June 7, 10:30 a.m. | Goleta Valley Library

Book Signing: Lynnell Burkett
Friday, June 7, 4 p.m. | Lantern Tree Books

Summer Reading Kick-Off Party
Saturday, June 8, 11 a.m. | Alameda Park

Poetry Reading: Julie Murphy & Paul Willis
Saturday, June 8, 4 p.m. | Unity of Santa Barbara

Preschool Story Time
Monday, June 10, 10 a.m. | Carpinteria Community Library

Wiggly Storytime
Monday, June 10, 10:30 a.m. | Buellton Library

Summer Reading Event: Story Artist Elaine Muray
Monday, June 10, 3:30 p.m. | Carpinteria Community Library

Author Talk: Neal Rabin Interviewed by Leslie Dinaberg
Monday, June 10, 4 p.m. | Pearl Social

Book Talk: Tap Into Your Courage to Speak Your Truth with Claudia Chotzen
Tuesday, June 11, 6 p.m. | Workzones, Paseo Nuevo

Bilingual Music & Movement
Wednesday, June 12, 10:15 a.m. | S.B. Central Library

Romance Book Club
Wednesday, June 12, 5:30 p.m. | Virtual

Adult Summer Reading Kick-Off
Thursday, June 13, 5 p.m. | Fox Wine Co.

Wiggly Storytime
Friday, June 14, 10:15 a.m. | S.B. Central Library

Preschool Story Time
Monday, June 17, 10 a.m. | Carpinteria Community Library

Book Talk and Signing: Amanda Darcy
Monday, June 17, 6 p.m. | Chaucer’s Books

Local Book Spotlight

We at the Independent get many books sent to us by local authors, sometimes too many! It’s practically impossible for us to read and review them all, but just because we are busy bees does not mean that they aren’t worth the attention. In an attempt to not completely drop the ball, we have compiled a list of books here that have a local spin. They are all either written by a local author, feature someone in our community, or have another tie to Santa Barbara. I urge you to look through this list. Perhaps you will find your new favorite read!

The following are the most recent titles that have been sent to us. Click here for a more comprehensive list.

The Dark Room: A Memoir of Triumph by Claudia Chotzen

Trauterose: Growing Up in Postwar Munich by Elisabeth Haggblade

Earth Jumped Back by Philip Reari

The Extraordinary Power of Being Average by Mel Herbert, MD

Front Row Rebel by Loretta Redd

Building Community: Answering Kennedy’s Call by Harlan Russell Green

Lives Well Lived: Generations by Sky Bergman

Of Love and Beer by Amanda Darcy

If you are a local author and would like us to feature your book in this section, please email with the subject line “Local Author Spotlight.”

Book Reviews Courtesy of CALIFORNIA REVIEW OF BOOKS*

Thanks to the generous contributions of David Starkey, Brian Tanguay and their team of reviewers at California Review of Books, we are able to provide a steady stream of book reviews via our content partnership. Recent reviews at include:

Chasing the Light by Oliver Stone; review by Brian Tanguay

Total Garbage: How We Can Fix Our Waste and Heal Our World by Edward Humes; review by David Starkey

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka; review by Brian TanguayCome & Get It by Kiley Reid; review by George Yatchisin

*At the present time, all of the Independent’s book reviews are provided in collaboration with California Review of Books (

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